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Background: In the early years of life, the benefits of parental engagement in children's learning are well documented. Early childhood educators are a potentially effective source of support, having opportunity to engage with parents on key issues related to children's learning and development. Educators report a need for more practical strategies for building positive partnerships with the parents of children in their care. To address this need, we have developed a practice support system, Partnering with Parents, to guide educators in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) through practical strategies for working with parents. Partnering with Parents is designed to be embedded in everyday service delivery. Methods: Using a cluster randomised controlled trial (cRCT) with intervention and wait-list control groups, we aim to evaluate the effectiveness of the Partnering with Parents practice support system under normal service conditions. The intervention is being trialled in ECEC services across Victoria, Australia. Services in the intervention group implemented the 10-week intervention before the control group commenced the intervention. Educators and parents of children attending the participating services are taking part in evaluating the intervention by completing questionnaires online at three time points (before, immediately after, and 3 months after the intervention group received the intervention). Results: One hundred eighteen educators and 302 parents recruited from 19 participating ECEC services have consented to take part in the trial. Conclusions: There is considerable potential for ECEC services to improve everyday interactions with parents and potentially child outcomes, by implementing this practice support model. Future research in this field can examine long-term effects of improving the parent-educator relationship. The intervention has potential to be widely embedded in educator training or professional development. Trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR): ACTRN12619000488101. Prospectively registered 25 March 2019.
Petrovic, Z., Clayton, O., Matthews, J., Wade, C., Tan, L., Meyer, D., … Cann, W. (2019). Building the skills and confidence of early childhood educators to work with parents: Study protocol for the Partnering with Parents cluster randomised controlled trial. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 19(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12874-019-0846-1